Post from Faith Reboot’s Amy Sondova
I couldn’t sleep. Again. So I grabbed my iPad and posted some of those thoughts that kept rattling around in my brain. I finally drifted into a solid sleep and hours later woke up to discover my words reached out to a few friends who were bold enough to comment, “Me too.”
A new year makes me think about renewal, rebirth, forgetting the old and getting my mind focused on what’s fresh. Unfortunately, I often drag the baggage from the other year and the years before that along with me. It’s not just the emotional stuff I need to work out or even the extra pounds I need to work off. It’s the heavy weight of shame, disappointment, and failure. These things that don’t just hold me down and hold me back, but affect my soul.
It is nearly impossible to feel God’s soft touch or hear His gentle whisper when my heart is so hard, so scarred, so barely beating. Oh, I want to change, but I don’t want to go through the anxiety of change. I’ve learned to make bedfellows of disappointment, depression, broken dreams, and anxiety. If I give that it all up, who would I be then? No, thank you, my cynicism is much more comfortable. Or it would if cynicism wasn’t a slow killer strangling me, stealing my creativity, and my joy. It blocks joy and gratitude and leaves me starving for spiritual nutrition.
I thought about the words famed Christian singer/songwriter Keith Green said in the live recording of his song, “O Lord, You’re Beautiful.” Like me, he couldn’t sleep. His spiritual heart felt hot and hard so he prayed, “Lord, give me baby skin.” He traded his jaded heart for a new one with baby skin—renewed and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. And then in celebration, he wrote one of the most beloved songs of the late 70’s/early 80’s and even today.
I echo the words of his song in my prayers: “O, Lord, please light the fire that once burned bright and clear! Replace the lamp of my First Love that burns with holy fear.” God’s grace abounds to me and surrounds me and softens me. My multitude of sins is washed away. I am left with a heart of baby skin. I am renewed, not new, renewed, for He made me new long ago when I traded my life for His.
Now I’m left with a choice, do I heavily guard this renewed heart keeping it from all hurt, pain, and cynicism? Do I hide away in a tower never letting it feel the cruelties of the world? One would think this self-preservation would keep the soul’s heart in mint condition. Alas, it is the opposite.
For the renewed heart to grow, for it to strongly beat, for it to be fully alive, it must experience all things—heartbreak, joy, loss, gratitude, and more.
The difference between the renewed heart and the jaded heart is simply one of choice. Will I commit to allowing God to use me, to grow me, and to change me into the person He wants me to be or do I choose swallow me up—to hide my light under a boulder, hide inside myself, and pretend the loneliness doesn’t slowly ? Because the latter feels safer, yet it’s a lie! Renewal can never happen when I choose to do the same thing over and over again—the very definition of insanity.
I hear His voice, “This heart isn’t yours anymore; it is Mine.” Left on my own, I foolishly devalue this precious gift, tarring it with regret and shame. Still, God once again entrusts this little bit of my soul to me–to choose to live for Him or to hide in the shadows. With trembling, open hands, I hold up my heart to the Great Giver and thank Him for renewal, for a fresh start, for another chance at life.
I look at my Facebook status again. I was not ready to commit to the challenge I posted in the middle of the night. I put down my iPad, hug a pillow close to my chest, and through my dry, cracked lips, I whisper, “Me, too. I want baby skin again.”
Feel free to comment below or check out Amy’s personal blog, Backseat Writer.